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HKIFF44 Announces Competition Winners

20/08/2020

Hong Kong International Film Festival Society
Announces HKIFF44 Competition Winners

 

ZHENG Lu Xinyuan’s The Cloud in Her Room and Lemohang Jeremiah MOSESE’s This Is Not a Burial, Its a Resurrection are named best films of the 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival’s Firebird Young Cinema Competitions.

 

Both films also won the Best Actress awards in their respective section, with MOSESE’s film notching a third win by capturing the FIPRESCI Prize.

 

The 13 winners announced today by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) include The Painter and the Thief, which won the Firebird Award for Documentary, with Genius Loci taking home the prestigious award for Short Film.

 

Despite the cancellation of the 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF44) last month due to an upsurge in COVID-19 pandemic, HKIFF44’s Firebird competitions continued with online judging.

 

The jury for Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language) commended ZHENG Lu Xinyuan’s The Cloud in Her Room for “weaving a girl’s private diary into a moving ode in a witty, minimalist style with maturity”.  JIN Jing, who stars as the director’s alter ego, was awarded Best Actress for her stunning debut performance.  LIANG Ming and WU Xiaoliang garnered Best Director and Best Actor awards respectively for the multi-layered, allegorical Wisdom Tooth.  The film demonstrates the director’s naturalistic aesthetics and the lead actor’s strength that comes from his tender heart. 

 

MOSESE’s This Is Not a Burial, Its a Resurrection, the first feature film shot entirely in his native Lesotho, was chosen as the Firebird Award winner of Young Cinema Competition (World) for crafting “a universal story of an African village caught between its history, tradition and the encroachment of the 21st century”.  The late Mary Twala MHLONGO, who plays the fearless widow in the film, was also named Best Actress.  Indian filmmaker Pushpendra SINGH received Best Director for deftly employing magical realism in The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs.  The Best Actor award went to Bakhtiyar PANJEEI of Iranian film The Alien, and Greek director Janis RAFA received a Special Mention for her debut feature, Kala Azar.

 

In the Documentary Competition, the jury unanimously awarded the Firebird Award to The Painter and the Thief by Norwegian director Benjamin REE, commending it for “extremely cinematic…mirroring the process of the painter’s search for realistic creativity”.  French filmmaker Emmanuel CAPPELLIN took the Jury Prize for Once You Know.

 

In the Short Film Competition, the jury selected French animation Genius Loci by Adrien MERIGEAU for the Firebird Award, praising it “unique in its artistic vision, its style and form also coherent with the content”.  Chinese filmmaker YUAN Yuan received the Jury Prize for Heading South.

 

This year’s FIPRESCI Prize went to MOSESE’s This Is Not a Burial, Its a Resurrection.  The film received a commendation from the jury for “its highly original combination of approaches…that invokes ancient storytelling traditions for its modern tale of grief channeled into social action”.  

 

The award winners can be seen in specially-prepared videos, accessible through HKIFFS’s official website www.hkiff.org.hk or via http://bit.ly/hkiff44_winners, sharing their thoughts and reaction.

 

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Appendix – List of Jurors and Award Winners

 

1. Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language)

Jurors: Stanley KWAN (renowned director), O Sing-pui (director and cinematographer), May FUNG (independent art and cultural worker)

 

Award

Film

Director / Actor

Jury’s Comments

Firebird Award

The Cloud in Her Room

ZHENG Lu Xinyuan

In a witty, minimalist style with maturity, ZHENG’s debut is a delicate portrait of the new generation’s state of mind through a girl’s fragmented memory and estrangement. Oscillating between reality and fantasy, the film weaves a girl’s private diary into a moving ode, enriched by its exquisite black-and-white cinematography and JIN Jing’s stunning performance.

Best Director

Wisdom Tooth

LIANG Ming

LIANG Ming crafts a multi-layered, allegorical story, with maturity beyond a first-time director. A champion of naturalistic aesthetics, the delicate interaction between characters and landscapes along with an unobtrusive mise-en-scene draws one into various moods while maintaining a degree of intellectual detachment, deftly enhancing its metaphorical quality and elegance. 

Best Actor

Wisdom Tooth

WU Xiaoliang

Starring as the protagonist’s brother, WU Xiaoliang demonstrates the qualities of a man of honor. In the face of unemployment and his sister’s identity crisis, he dares to tackle the problems with ease - a strength that comes not from the physique, but his tender heart. 

Best Actress

The Cloud in Her Room

JIN Jing

Under ZHENG’s delicate direction, JIN Jing impresses with her composure and consummate control over body and facial languages. Her nuanced performance, with meticulous attention to details, is witnessed in her relationships with different characters, as well as her sensations in a city so familiar yet so foreign. 

 

2. Young Cinema Competition (World)

Jurors: LEONG Po-chih (pioneer Hong Kong New Wave director), Gina MARCHETTI (Professor of Comparative Literature, the University of Hong Kong), Sam HO (film programmer, researcher and critic)

 

Award

Film

Director / Actor

Jury’s Comments

Firebird Award

This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Lemohang Jeremiah MOSESE

This film is a compelling mix of myth, magic, and realism. It resonates with raw emotion. A story-teller musician poet talks of an elderly woman’s wish to be buried in her village. The elderly woman’s private world is impressionistic, stylized. Hers is a universal story of an African village caught between its history, tradition and the encroachment of the 21st century.

Best Director

The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs

Pushpendra SINGH

This film marks a major milestone for director Pushpendra SINGH, who deftly employs magical realism to dramatize a tale of the indigenous people of the contested region of Kashmir. With keen attention to character, SINGH depicts Laila, the eponymous shepherdess, as more than an allegorical figure by portraying her as standing up as a woman to the men who try to limit her freedom.  

Best Actor

The Alien

Bakhtiyar PANJEEI

Bakhtiyar PANJEEI of The Alien, in a restrained but evocative performance, superbly embodies the difficult and complicated experience of his character, working in organic coordination with director Nader SAEIVAR’s stylized realism to animate the often conflicting conditions of human existence.

Best Actress

This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Mary Twala MHLONGO

The legendary Mary Twala MHLONGO plays an 80-year-old woman determined to be buried with her dead family in her home village. Her still face hides so many emotions. Her acting is natural, yet so compelling, she owns this film. Not many 80-year-old women would strip to face an antagonist when she is forced to leave her village.

Special Mention

Kala Azar

Janis RAFA

This film is distinguished by the multisensory evocation of a world in which animals and humans share common urges, basic needs, and vulnerabilities to zoonotic diseases.  With an idiosyncratic outlook that seamlessly melds the perspectives of people and pets, RAFA does not shy away from the often unpleasant sounds, odors, tastes, textures, and sights that connect humans to animals through their shared mortality.

 

 

3. Documentary Competition

Jurors: Ruby YANG (Academy Award-winning director), Ruby CHEN (Co-Founder and CEO of CNEX Foundation Limited), Bryan CHANG (film critic, director and screenwriter) 

 

Award

Film

Director

Jury’s Comment

Firebird Award

The Painter and the Thief

Benjamin REE

The film is extremely cinematic with flowing edits. Thoughtfully structured in acts one & two to illuminate both “seeing” and “perception”. The filmmaker mirroring the process of the painter’s search for realistic creativity, and slowly reveals the empathy and friendship between the unlikely protagonists. 

Jury Prize

Once You Know

Emmanuel CAPPELLIN

The film is poetic, inquisitive, intertwined with provocative images and never predictable. Using a rare cinematic personal journal to share the filmmaker’s journey of questioning growth-based democracies and contemplates issues of climate change, fossil fuel as well as social justice, especially timely with the current pandemic.

 

 

4. Short Film Competition

Jurors: Derek Kwok-cheung TSANG (Hong Kong director, screenwriter and actor), CHENG Yu-Chieh (Taiwanese director, screenwriter and actor), Ana Isabel STRINDBERG (Co-director of Portugal Film)

 

Award

Film

Director

Jury’s Comment

Firebird Award

Genius Loci

Adrien MERIGEAU

The film is a wholly original work of art that’s beaming with creativity. Not only is this animated short unique in its artistic vision, its style and form is also coherent with the content. The form becomes an essential part of the narrative. Visual poetry at its best.

Jury Prize

Heading South

YUAN Yuan

The director demonstrates her ability to tell a moving story with permanent tension, which makes us reflect on nature and culture, through the eyes of a child. Also magnificent is the actors’ interpretation of the drama. This prize is a way to encourage the director to develop her cinematographic world in a feature film.

 

 

5. FIPRESCI Prize

Jurors: Robert HORTON (American critic), Gideon KOUTS (French critic), Ann Lind ANDERSEN (Danish critic)

 

Award

Film

Director

Jury’s Comment

FIPRESCI Prize

This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Lemohang Jeremiah MOSESE

Set in a Lesotho village threatened by a dam project, the film uses a highly original combination of approaches: It’s about beautiful landscapes but also intensely-realized rooms; it’s awash with stylized colors but also documentary-like authenticity; and it invokes ancient storytelling traditions for its modern tale of grief channeled into social action. All of which relies on the intimate power of lead actress Mary Twala MHLONGO’s unforgettable face.

 




Highlights
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16/09/2020
HKIFF44 Announces Competition Winners
20/08/2020
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13/08/2020
HKIFFS Announces Original Line-up, Confirms Competitions to Continue
30/07/2020
HKIFF44 to showcase six restored cinematic gems from Bologna
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HKIFF to celebrate The Film Foundation’s 30th anniversary with six rare cinematic gems
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HKIFF44 honors Michael Hui
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Highlights
HKIFF45 Announces Dates, Calls for Entries
16/09/2020
HKIFF44 Announces Competition Winners
20/08/2020
Complete Original Line-up of Cancelled HKIFF44 Revealed
13/08/2020
HKIFFS Announces Original Line-up, Confirms Competitions to Continue
30/07/2020
HKIFF44 to showcase six restored cinematic gems from Bologna
23/06/2020
HKIFF to celebrate The Film Foundation’s 30th anniversary with six rare cinematic gems
05/02/2020
HKIFF44 honors Michael Hui
23/01/2020

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